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Kelly Hall-Tompkins: Recitation and Remembrance

WQXR's Artist Propulsion Lab Concert Series

Originally Aired: Tuesday, October 19, 2021


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WQXR’s Artist Propulsion Lab concert series continues with an assortment of pieces that encapsulate violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins’s unflagging spirit, deep love of connection, and commitment to social justice.

The program features two contemporary works, both written for Kelly during the pandemic: Guy Mintus’s Inner Compas — a flamenco-tinged Israeli piece and a memorial to Elijah McClain composed by Ellen Zwilich.

To close the evening, she will be joined by fellow Propulsion Lab Artist, Kara Dugan, for the premiere of Kelly’s new arrangement of ‘My Mother’s Menorah” from Eileen Sherman’s The Odd Potato and selections from her recording The Fiddler: Expanding Tradition.

Attend this Artist Propulsion Lab concert and Brandon Patrick George’s concert on Tuesday, November 9, for just $25. BUY BUNDLE.

Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin
Kara Dugan, mezzo-soprano
Craig Ketter, piano
Stephen Benson, guitar
Joshua Camp, accordion
Michael Blanco, bass

Claude Debussy
Sonata for Violin and Piano
Guy Mintus 
Inner Compas

Commissioned by the American Composer’s Orchestra’s “Connecting Community” Project during the Coronavirus Pandemic 2020. 
Ellen Zwilich
A Little Violin Music in Memory of Elijah McClain

During a webinar titled “The Time is Now: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Music” presented by the University of Rochester on October 8, 2020, violinist and Eastman School of Music alumna Kelly Hall-Tompkins performed the world premiere of A Little Violin Music in Memory of Elijah McClain, which Ellen wrote for Kelly this past summer. 

Eileen Sherman
“My Mother’s Menorah” from The Odd Potato

Arranged for voice, violin, piano by Kelly Hall-Tompkins

Selections from The Fiddler: Expanding Tradition 
  • Rhapsody
  • Sabbath Prayer
  • Wedding Dance
  • Mordcha’s Dance


Individual creators and performers have been hit hard by the pandemic shutdown, which has made it especially difficult for them to earn an income. WQXR has been working on ways to help in any way possible, so as part of its newly-announced STAR initiative, WQXR is pleased to announce the first cohort of its Artist Propulsion Lab. Six early and mid-career artists, hand-selected by the WQXR team, will receive an honorarium of $15,000, as well as a budget of up to $5,000 to engage collaborators and commission works. They will have the opportunity to take advantage of WQXR’s various outlets to reach audiences via Greene Space performances, on-air curation opportunities, and much, much more.

Acclaimed by The New York Times as “the versatile violinist who makes the music come alive” and as a 2017 New York Times “New Yorker of the Year,” for her “tonal mastery” (BBC Music Magazine) and “Groundbreaking” recording projects (STRINGS Magazine), and featured in the Smithsonian Museum of African- American History, violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins is trailblazing an innovative, creative and entrepreneurial career as a soloist and chamber musician. For thirteen months on Broadway, Ms. Hall-Tompkins was the “Fiddler,” violin soloist, for the Bartlett Sher production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” with numerous solos written especially for her. The New York Times hailed her in a feature article as holding the title role, together with dancer Jesse Kovarsky.

Winner of a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize, Concert Artists Guild Career Grant, and Sphinx Medal of Excellence, Ms. Hall-Tompkins has appeared as soloist as the Inaugural Artist in Residence with the Cincinnati Symphony. Read more…

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